BFL 66 | Canada | Friday
Welterweight, Kyran Cameron (4-0)
Cameron trained with Para Bellum MMA, and now Niagara Top Team with other top young Canadian prospects. He has fought for BTC, a good promotion out of Canada that will continue to build him. He’s a good athlete who has dabbled in many forms of martial arts. Cameron is a well-rounded fighter and has a high fight IQ. His cardio could be better but it could easily improve. He fights Kennan Kellar (2-0).
LFA 102 | US | Friday
Featherweight, Bruno Souza (8-1)
The prodigy of MMA legend Lyoto Machida, Bruno Souza is a solid prospect. Souza mimics the style of Machida with his Karate approach. Souza was a 2015 world Karate champion and a former national and South American champion as well. Being a karate style fighter his kicks are his most vital weapon, similar to how a boxer primarily uses their hands. But Souza isn’t only a kicker but in fact a solid striker as well. Mixing in kicks and punches together in combinations is Souza something does extremely well. With incredible movement, his counter striking is very much up to par. Fighting on the outside the Brazilian has long straight very quick hands. As the fight goes on his pace picks up and so does his output. Check out my feature on him here. He fights Elijah Johns (7-1)
Featherweight, Elijah Johns (7-1)
Johns is the younger brother of UFC fighter Miles Johns and another product out of Fortis MMA. On the feet Johns is aggressive and strikes well to close the distance. He’ll close the distance to use his wrestling and showcase some dangerous knees. On the outside though he has a good jab and throws nice straight punches. Johns does have excellent wrestling, good ground and pound, and scrambles good. He fights Bruno Souza (8-1).
Welterweight, Steve Jones (8-1)
Jones impressed in his last LFA outing when he beat uber-prospect Tyler Ray. Jones is an outstanding boxer with excellent use of feints and placement. He will fake a right and go to a left, fake a right come up with an uppercut, and fake an uppercut and come over the top with a right. His hand speed might not be too go but makes up for it with his technical ability. He fights Nikolay Veretennikov (7-3).
Welterweight, Nikolay Veretennikov (7-3)
Jones is a forgotten prospect due to the fact that we haven’t seen him in the cage since 2019. Veretennikov is from Kazakhstan and has good wins over tough regional guys like Austin Jones and Artenas Young. He also holds a win over current UFC fighter Charlie Ontiveros. I believe Veretennikov has competed in wrestling, boxing, and does have a background in Sambo. He stays pressure-heavy moving forward and cutting the cage in half. He has a slew of weapons including kicks, knees, hooks, and wrestling. When he puts it together he’s like a gnat on a summer day. He fights Steve Jones (8-1).
Featherweight, AJ Cunningham (7-1)
Cunningham is a well-rounded young man with a high ceiling. On the feet, he does a good job of mixing in kicks and punches, throwing a one-two, and just of variety of different things. His ability to mix in takedowns with his striking is what makes him a good prospect. Cunningham on top has had no problem transitioning into mount and raining down ground and pound. His cardio is a little suspect but there is time to fix that. He fights Javier Garcia (5-3).
Bantamweight, Brandon Lewis (4-0)
Lewis is skilled all-around, and on the feet he has improved a lot throughout his career. His kickboxing is good, and he does a nice job at throwing kicks in with his combinations — throwing at a high pace with a lot of volume. Lewis has good wrestling but his grappling is his best aspect as he excels in scrambles, is always moving, and has a good submission game with five submission wins in his amateur career. He hasn’t fought in almost four years so it’s hard to tell how he will look. He fights Jimmy Meza (2-0).
Shooto 2021 Vol.2 | Japan | Friday
Bantamweight, Tatsuro Taira (7-0)
Taira is someone that jumped out to me recently and is one of the brightest young prospects out of Japan. He’s well-rounded: on the feet he’s got an explosive barrage of strikes he closes the distance with well. He’s got some solid takedowns and on the mat is where he’s best. Taira has fight-ending ground and pound and is a submission threat. He fights veteran Yoshiro Maeda (38-18-3).
Eternal MMA 58 | Australia | Saturday
Lightweight, Josh Togo (9-3)
A few years ago, Josh Togo was on a three-fight skid. Now he’s won his last five fights (also an NC) and is the current Eternal MMA lightweight champ. Togo doesn’t have a lot of power but has the technical ability on the outside to work opponents. He will pick his foes apart with lead leg kicks, lead uppercuts, and jabs mixing it up. In his last fight he took out former UFC fighter Ben Wall. He fights Daniel Hill (4-0).
UAE Warriors 18 | AbuDubai | Saturday
Bantamweigt, Xavier Alaoui (12-3)
Canada’s Alaoui has been fighting for nearly a decade and has looked the best he’s ever been lately. Alaoui trains out of Tristar Gym where he trains with high-level wrestlers and great fighters and he shows that training in his fights. He does a good job getting the fight to the mat with his wrestling or even his judo. He closes the distance to get inside very well. Once he gets it to the ground he fights very expertly there. Alaoui stays heavy on top and always advances his position to threaten submissions. His striking isn’t much but he has good defense and is light on his feet and avoids strikes for the most part. He fights Vinicius de Oliveira (15-2).
Bantamweight, Vinicius de Oliveira (15-2)
Oliveira is an absolute wild man when he’s in the cage. He reminds you of a lesser version of fellow Brazilian and UFC fighter Michal Pereira. Oliveira is an all-action freestyle-type athlete who will always put on a show. Being the diverse athlete he is, the Brazilian loves to go for broke throwing a lot of switch kicks, wheel kicks, going off the cage, and flying knees. He really brings that Brazilian capoeira style. Oliveira will also get takedowns and has an underrated ground game. He fights Xavier Alaoui (12-3).
MMA SERIES 28 | Russia | Saturday
Lightweight, Alexey Lyapunov (8-1)
Lyapunov is good prospect who gets better as the fight goes on. I consider him a slow starter but with a deep gas tank winning rounds two and three and finishing late makes him a problem. His takedown defense needs work but he is dangerous off his back. In fact, Lyapunov has three triangle wins on his record. He’s a good counter striker and has good kicks he utilizes. I’m not fully sold on him but he has me interested. He fights Tahir Abdullaev (10-1).
Cage Warriors 122 | UK | Saturday
Featherweight, Morgan Charriere (16-7-1)
Charriere doesn’t have the most appealing record but a lot of those losses are to good fighters. In fact, Charriere is only 25-years-old and reaching his prime. On the feet Charriere fights with a controlled chaos style throwing a lot of wide strikes but his speed and accuracy make up for it. He also has thudding leg kicks and will go up top as well, ending combinations that way. What he does very well is move his head. He’s always swaying back and forth with top-notch head movement. Charriere has decent wrestling and four wins by submission. He’s well-rounded, exciting, and still young. He fights Jordan Vucenic (7-1).
Featherweight, Jordan Vucenic (7-1)
Vucenic is mainly a wrestler. He has heavy leg kicks plus good forward pressure, but everything he does on the feet is to feet to the takedown. Along with good wrestling, Vucenic has really good top control and really nice fluidity as well. His work rate is impressive with a deep gas tank. Still needs some work on the feet but is scrappy. He fights Morgan Charriere (16-7-1).
Lightweight, Tobias Harila (8-1)
Harila is a warrior that has gone out on his shield each time out. His takedown defense is his biggest problem but he does a good job getting back up. His striking defense needs work but Harila is extremely tough and will take damage to give some. Harila does slow as the fight progresses but never stops fighting. Harila has good striking with good power and most importantly his work rate is super impressive. He fights Aidan Stephen (8-1).
Bantamweight, Nathan Fletcher (4-0)
Fletcher is a young fighter with whom I am very impressed with. Combined as a pro and amateur he’s 11-1 with eight finishes. Not much has been seen of his striking especially as a pro, but he has a good ground game and is a stellar wrestler. Fletcher has a strong body lock takedown and on top, he’s a tactical grappler with seamless transitions. Overall such a good grappler and wrestler. He fights Michele Martignoni (6-0).
RIZIN 27 | Japan | Saturday
Lightweight, Koji Takeda (11-1)
Takeda has one sole loss to former UFC fighter Damien Brown. Since then he’s got back on the board with three wins. Takeda is the former DEEP Impact lightweight champion with two title defenses. He’s well-rounded with submission wins and TKO wins, although he has gone the distance six times. On the feet, Takeda has an excellent jab and fights behind it very well. He doesn’t have the power, but it’s the accumulation of strikes he lands which is fantastic. He’s just so technical on the feet and is also a good wrestler/grappler and can do it the whole distance of the fight. He fights Takasuke Kume (24-6-3).